Alex Iwobi says Everton’s enterprising performance against West Ham United on Saturday stemmed from Marco Silva’s instructions to “express yourself and be free” – and attacker Iwobi is certain his side’s 2-0 win can act as a “turning point” in their campaign.
Everton tore into West Ham from the outset and the Blues’ margin of victory could conceivably have been far wider.
Silva’s side had 10 shots on target – more than in any game since the Portuguese took charge last summer – and scarcely raised their boot from the Hammers’ throats.
Iwobi twice drew smart saves from goalkeeper Roberto, who was busy all afternoon and twice grateful to his woodwork for denying Everton further goals.
The two Everton did score would have matched what Silva envisaged when he asked his side to play with courage, confidence and purpose.
Bernard teased West Ham defender Arthur Masuaku with his silky footwork before slotting beyond Roberto, while the visiting keeper was utterly helpless when substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson rifled into the top corner from 25 yards in stoppage time.
“It was a great team performance and we are all buzzing,” Iwobi told evertontv following the final whistle.
“We needed a turning point and I think today is the day.
“The manager told us after the international break that we had to be confident, to not feel any sort of pressure.
“He said, ‘Just play and express yourselves and be free’.
“We took that into training… and you can see from the players today, we were able to that in the match.”
Everton climbed four places to 14th and within four points of a top-six spot following their weekend success – which curbed a run of four straight Premier League defeats.
Manager Silva made five changes to his side for the Hammers’ visit, with a few accompanying positional tweaks including Iwobi’s switch to a role directly behind striker Richarlison.
The former Arsenal player, not long back from Singapore where he played for Nigeria against Brazil last week, created two chances and found his target with 82.8 per cent of 24 passes in West Ham’s half – the highest ratio among Everton’s starters.
Theo Walcott, meanwhile, aimed seven shots and had 13 touches in the Hammers’ box. Only Manchester City pair Gabriel Jesus [eight] and Raheem Sterling  respectively recorded higher totals this weekend in the Premier League.
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SILVA: PLAYERS SHOWED WHAT I ASKED FOR
Everton’s authority and ambition was further reflected in Lucas Digne carving out four chances from left-back and centre-half duo Michael Keane and Yerry Mina winning a combined 13 aerial battles.
Iwobi was starting his fourth league match for Everton and revealed his individual remit was in line with Silva’s message to the collective.
“The manager told me try to get the team going forward as quickly as possible but also keep the ball and create chances and I felt I would be able to do that,” added Iwobi.
“That position is where I have grown up playing and where I feel most comfortable.
“I will play wherever I am told to but I really enjoyed it today.”